The winner of the gigantic $758 million Powerball prize has already made one misstep—letting the world know who she is.
According to New York attorney Jason Kurland, even though Massachusetts requires the names of lottery winners be made public, some winners in the past have created trusts that could receive the money on their behalf in order to remain anonymous, as CNBC reported.
And with hundreds of millions of dollars in your name, that might be the very first thing to consider.
“She better get ready. She’s going to be hit up for investment opportunities, charity requests, even people she knows are going to come to her,” said Kurland, who works for the Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, a law firm in New York.
Mavis Wanczyk, 53, won the single largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history on Wednesday night. At 1 p.m. on Thursday, her name was announced at a press conference.
“She has an insane amount of money now,” Kurland said.
The odds of winning Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot were 1 in 292.2 million. Nearly 10 million additional tickets won more than $135 million in prize money.
Massachusetts allows winners to wait a full year before claiming their winnings. Moving in so quickly and disclosing her identity is already a mistake for Wanczyk, experts say. But it’s not too late to act prudently.
The best thing Wanczyk can do right now is to hire an attorney that can be the gate keeper for the crowd of money seekers that’s sure to show up at her door, Kurland said.
“Her life will be much easier if she can hide behind someone else, so to speak, when she gets all these calls and questions,” Kurland said.
Wanczyk should also let her bank know that $480.5 million is about to land in her account. The lucky winner chose to receive a lump sum of $480.5 million instead of 30 payments over 29 years.
Approximately $120.1 million of the winnings will be paid in taxes to the federal government, while $24 million will be paid in taxes to Massachusetts state, according to USAMega.com.
After taxes and the amount lost because she opted for the lump sum, Wanczyk will be left with $336 million, less than half of the total winnings.
Wanczyk should also assemble a team of trustworthy experts—an accountant, a financial advisor and an estate planner – to help her make the best choices with her newfound wealth.
“She’s now one of the world’s wealthiest people and she has to start acting like it,” Kurland said.